The financial fate of healthcare organizations depends on their ability to provide patients with good clinical care and a positive financial experience. While providing safe and effective care has always been a top priority for healthcare organizations, many providers have overlooked how elements of the revenue cycle – both front-end and back-end — affect the patient experience.
As more patients enroll in health plans with high out-of-pocket costs and shoulder more financial responsibility for their care, healthcare organizations must ensure patients are at the center of their revenue cycle strategy. Patients are used to having customized billing and payment solutions at their fingertips, and there is a need for a more consumer-centric approach in healthcare.
Below is an overview of the link between revenue cycle and the patient experience and investments hospitals can make to improve both areas.
1. Tech supports patient-centered RCM. With the healthcare industry becoming more consumer centric, patients want healthcare organizations to offer transparently priced care, payment plans when needed and a simple billing and payment process.
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Technology solutions, such as artificial intelligence, automation and predictive analytics, help hospitals and health systems streamline manual processes and offer a more consumer-oriented approach to revenue cycle management. Automating tasks, such as authorization and eligibility checks, allow front-end revenue cycle staff to give patients the information they need in real-time. Advanced technologies like predictive analytics and AI can help determine whether patients would benefit from a payment plan.
2. A retail-like experience in healthcare. Healthcare organizations have turned to various technology solutions to improve the revenue cycle process, but technologies deployed in healthcare must enable the type of seamless experiences consumers encounter in other industries.
From registration through billing and payment, healthcare providers must eliminate any unnecessary friction during patient interactions to create a convenient experience. Digital service integration helps front-end staff get the patient experience right from the start by compiling information into an easy to access platform. Revenue cycle team members are more engaged with the patient when the distraction of juggling multiple tools is removed, leading to a better patient experience.
3. Tech and talent is the winning duo. The combination of tech and talent is the key to improving revenue cycle performance and the patient experience. Technology alone can make a big difference, but it cannot replace the human element of the revenue cycle process. Therefore, healthcare organizations should focus on hiring the right type of talent and training revenue cycle staff to enhance the patient experience.
Whether answering a phone call about a billing question or providing a price estimate, the revenue cycle team has a huge impact on the overall patient experience. With support from tech-enabled tools, front-end staff can help elevate the patient experience and improve the healthcare organization’s financial performance.
Source: Becker’s Hospital Review